Thursday, 16 November 2017

Book Review: On the Way to You by Kandi Steiner

About the Book

What makes you happy?

That was the question Emery Reed asked me the day we met, and I couldn’t give him a single answer. I could have said my dog, or my books, or yoga — but I just stared.

And then, I got in his car.

It was crazy to take a road trip with a stranger, but after years of standing still, he was my one-way ticket to a new life, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

We shared the same space, the same car, the same hotel room — and still, we were strangers.

One day we’d be laughing, the next, we wouldn’t speak. Emery was surrounded by impenetrable walls, but I wanted in.

Discovering his journal changed everything.

I read his thoughts, words not meant for anyone’s eyes, and the more I learned about him, the harder I fell. It turned out nothing made Emery Reed happy, and I wanted to change that.

I earned his trust by violating his privacy, and as wrong as it was, it worked — until one entry revealed a darkness I never knew existed, a timer I never knew was ticking.
Suddenly, what made me happy was saving Emery from himself. I just didn’t know if I could.

My Thoughts

I am not always a fan of angst-ridden romances, and I recognise how easy it is to wallow in the sunshine and roses of a romance novel, but sometimes you need the wallop an angst-filled story provides to help you recalibrate. And boy, does Kandi Steiner’s On The Way To You deliver that wallop.
He asked what made me happy, but that’s not what he really asked. What he really asked was – are you happy?

Emery Reed is somewhat grudgingly taking a road trip across America, a trip to fulfil his grandmother’s dying request. Along the way he meets the ever-positive Cooper Owens. She has plans and is slowly working towards them. Yet when Emery asks if she’s happy, her moment of clarity comes and she decides to take him up on his invitation to join him on the road.

While the trip physically takes our couple across America, the journey is more about the emotional and intellectual journey Emery and Cooper take, both as individuals and ultimately as a couple. It’s an awakening for both of them, and with this comes actions and the resulting fallout when things don’t go to plan. This story is not about miscommunication, it’s about emotions running so deep they are paralysing, especially for Emery.

I’ll admit I did cry at times when reading this book. Emery’s external façade is easily described but the internal struggles and impact they have is untold. What this book shows is that there is no one-solution-fits-all to depression.  Scarily, it showed me how easy it could be to fall into a depression especially since some of the things that filtered through Emery’s mind have gone through mine over the years.

Cooper has her own struggles, and for a 20 year-old woman she has suffered plenty. Overall she has a positive attitude but like all young adults, is suffering uncertainty about her future. Plans are one thing, executing them is another thing entirely. Emery provides her with the jolt she needs to start living her life. As they travel, we see how they help each other grow by not only showing their support for one another but also forcing the other to question long-held beliefs.

The story is primarily told in Cooper’s point of view but we get to know Emery from his diary entries and this I am glad about. The book would have been weaker if all his secrets were only revealed in the latter stages of the book.

This is not an easy book to read but it’s one well worth the time, and yes, the tears, to do so.

About the Author

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.
Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @KandiSteiner
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